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Monday, February 03, 2003

The Enemies of The Future

(With apologies to Virginia Postrel for swiping her title.)

Right here folks, is the enemy of all I hold dear:

The death toll in the Columbia shuttle disaster was smaller than that counted every day on Britain's roads, and yet the world stopped to mourn and wonder.


There are three purposes for being in space, and they are, in order of importance: military, commercial and pure science.

I'm sure the Independent would be contemptuous of the idea of exploration for its own sake---too many dark similarites to the colonial era, you know, and no doubt just a cover for the expansion of new markets to the moons and resulting in the repression of the rocks.

Money quote:

But it may well be that there will be a scaling down of the programme...An event of this kind is bound to give pause for thought about the costs and benefits of space exploration. It is likely to mark a further stage in coming to terms with the limits of human endeavour. Much of that has happened, of course, in the scaling back since the excitements of moon landings - no one seriously imagines now that they were the prelude, in anything but the longest term, to human colonisation of space. The romance is fading.

If that contributes to a subtle adjustment to the American psyche, it is likely to be for the better. There can be no harm, in the present world situation, in the US coming to terms with the idea of limits to its power.

Unspeakable. Bastards. Not for their revolting schadenfreude, but for the assertion that there is such a thing as a limit on human endeavor. Guess now that there's no Soviet Union to showcase the achievements of socialism, the Independent has no need of space exploration.

Frankly, the phrase "coming to terms with the limits of human endeavour" simply does not parse for me. It makes no sense.

I'll also point that the salutary chastening effects of American "humiliation" on September 11th---which the readers of the Sydney Morning Herald so looked forward to---have yet to manifest themselves. (Hint: The loss of the Columbia isn't going to do it either.)

Not only smug, cruel, and blinkered, but willfully stupid, too. That's no way to go through life, son.

UPDATE: Emily Jones, just beginning her nicotine withdrawal, has words. Kill and eat a Guardian reporter, Emily. It'll make it all better.